The Thanksgiving holiday fills the month of November. It begins with thoughts of what to cook (or not cook) this year, and who’s coming for dinner — and it isn’t over until the last slice of pie is served Thanksgiving Day. Taking a break from the holiday to-do list, I visit the farm stands for the last time this year before they shutter and move to indoor markets or take a much needed (and well-deserved) winter recess. I reflect on how thankful I am for our local farmers, who make it so easy for us to celebrate local fare and prepare a good meal at home. It’s a beautiful thing to eat simply, seasonally and locally.
Craving warmth and comfort, the inspiration for this month’s Farm to Plate recipe is one of my favorite soups: Ribollita. I first enjoyed it when studying in Florence, Italy, many years ago and I’m forever trying to capture the nostalgic taste of this Tuscan soup. While it features an array of hearty vegetables and crusty bread, it’s the kale that gives it a certain depth of color and flavor. You can find local kale at our North Fork farm stands — and I love the lacinato variety for this recipe especially. What makes this soup even more fitting for November is that it’s meant to be made with whatever vegetables you have on hand — and I’m sure there are plenty with all the holiday side-dish prep going on!
Happy cooking and happy holidays!
Ribollita soup with local kale
- 1/2 loaf crusty country bread; round loaf
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed. Seeds removed.
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans, rinsed
- 1/2 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
- 4 cups vegetable stock/broth
- 3 thyme sprigs (optional)
- 1 lb. kale, thick stems and veins removed, chopped
- 1/2 cup freshly grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste